Obama Fills West Wing With Powerful Czars

Critics warn of collision between Cabinet, top advisers in key jobs
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Jan 8, 2009 9:58 AM CST
President-elect Barack Obama stands with Health and Human Services Secretary-designate, former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle, at a news conference in Chicago, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
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(Newser) – Stories of agencies working on the same projects and not bothering to coordinate dog every presidential administration, but Barack Obama has an ambitious plan to avoid all that: He’s concentrating power over domestic issues in the hands of White House advisers. “It really is a way of him maximizing the opportunity to control all aspects of these efforts,” a former Clinton staffer tells the Washington Post.

Among Obama’s high-level West Wing aides are Carol Browner, environmental coordinator; Adolfo Carrion, who'll spearhead the urban agenda; and Tom Daschle—also a Cabinet secretary—running the health-care effort. But, warn some critics, Obama is inviting confusion. Says a former Nixon aide, “It's adding a layer of bureaucracy rather than really eliminating one. Everyone will be fighting with everybody.”